Ranking the New York Rangers trade targets into three tiers

The New York Rangers have only played four games in 21 days of February. That’s caused them to fall to third place in the Metro Division three points behind the Hurricanes and one in back of the Penguins. They are also just four points up on the Capitals, who hold the first Wild Card in the East.

Good news is that the Rangers have two games in hand on the Pens and the Caps. Also, the Canes once held four games in hand on the Rangers, it is now down to just one.

With the NHL Trade Deadline just a month away, it presents an opportunity to bolster the lineup and maintain a high playoff spot. Here’s a breakdown of trade targets categorized into three tiers.

New York Rangers: Realistic Trade Targets

Reilly Smith, 30, is the Rangers unofficial top trade target. Vegas is may need to clear out salary if Mark Stone and Alec Martinez can come off LTIR by the March 21 Trade Deadline. Smith is in the final year of his contract with a $5 million cap hit. He’s a perfect rental and has played for Gerard Gallant in the past. The forward has 33 points in 49 games this season.

Mark Giordano, 38, has 21 points in 45 games for the Kraken. He is exactly what contending teams will be looking for at the deadline. The Rangers had their sights set on him in the offseason prior to signing Patrik Nemeth. They may attempt to acquire him for the playoffs, but the rumor mill has him heading back to Calgary either at the deadline or via free agency.

Ben Chiarot, 30, recently landed on IR with a lower-body issue. He has 9 points in 44 games and could play top four minutes on the left side for a playoff team. It is believed that asking price by the Habs for the rental defenseman starts with a first round pick and another prospect. Chris Drury is believed to be looking very seriously at adding him for the playoffs.

Artturi Lehkonen, 26, is scheduled to be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He has 20 points in 47 games this season. The former second round pick (55th overall) makes $2.3M on his current deal and could be a could fit beyond this season for the Rangers.

Phil Kessel, 34, is a pending UFA and considered a top rental. He is still productive with 33 points in 50 games for the Coyotes. The word is that Chris Drury isn’t too interested at the moment but if he fails to land Smith, there’s nothing wrong with Phil on a second line with Strome and Panarin.

Nick Paul, 26, is a pending UFA making $1.35 million. This season, he’s scored 17 points in 46 games with the Sens. He’s been moved to the second line center spot and would be a nice cheap add for the Rangers as a third line winger/center. Paul played for Gallant this summer at the World Championships.

Big Swing Trade Targets

NEW YORK RANGERS RUMORS
Nov 2, 2021; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (9) scores on New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin (31) in the third period at Rogers Arena. Canucks won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

J.T. Miller, 28, has one more year left on his deal worth $5.25M before becoming a UFA. He’s also been extremely productive with 51 points in 49 games for Vancouver this season. The asking price is reportedly so high that many teams believe he’s in essence being pulled off the table.

Hampus Lindholm, 28, is making $5.2 million against the cap which is not an issue for the Rangers this season. The big left-handed defenseman (6-4, 216) has 20 points in 50 games this season averaging top pair minutes at 22:50. The ask from Anaheim is high, which is why Chiarot is a more likely trade candidate.

Tomas Hertl, 28, is in the final year of a deal that has a $5.625M cap hit. This season, he’s notched 40 points in 49 contests. If he’s available, the Rangers are likely to go hard for him but the word coming out of San Jose is the two sides are trying to work out an extension.

Claude Giroux, 33, is in the final year of a contract that comes with a $8.275M cap hit. He has 38 points in 46 games this season and would be an excellent top six add for teams hunting for a Cup. However, it’s unlikely the Flyers trade him to a rival. The Avalanche are still considered a top destination.

Joe Pavelski, 37, has 53 points in 49 games this season and will be a UFA in July. When the trade deadline rolls around, many teams will come a knocking for the versatile pivot. Although he seems to have already made up his mind that he wants to stay in Dallas. If the Stars are out, they could trade him and then resign him as a free agent. If so, the Rangers will take a shot at him.

Back-up Trade Targets

new york rangers trade rumors
Jan 29, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Vladislav Namestnikov (92) celebrates his goal in the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Vlad Namestnikov, 29, will be a UFA at the end of the year coming off a deal that pays $2 million. In 49 games, he’s put home 13 goals and 23 points. He’s been a versatile player for the Wings this season playing a middle-six forward role. Namestnikov is also familiar with New York having played for the Rangers for three seasons from 2017/18 to 2019/20 (35 points in 99 games).

Ryan Carpenter, 31, is a pending UFA making $1 million. This season, he’s registered 7 points in 48 games with Chicago. He is a bottom six center that wins 52.4 of his draws and racked up 97 hits. Acquiring this physical forward would be an upgrade over Greg McKegg and solidify the 4th line.

Mattias Janmark, 31, is one of several Vegas players that will be a UFA. While the Rangers would love Reilly Smith, the swap out of Mark Stone for Jack Eichel on LTIR may keep him there. Vegas may still need to clear cap space and Janmark makes sense to move. He’s registered 17 points in 46 games this season playing a third line role.

We will update this list in two weeks.

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